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Back Protectors and Backpacks

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by Zealt, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. I was reading someone else's thread about an off and a back protector saving him from injury and i was thinking,
    Would you think a back pack would do the same thing? provided it has things in it like jumper, wet weather gear or something else that can absorb the impact?

    I'd think back protectors would be good for racing where you wouldnt really want to have a back pack on.. :LOL:

    I don't go anywhere with out mine and its always got a jumper, wets, neck warmer and colder weather gloves in it, if i don't take it (when i go all dur brain and forget it) i feel like I'm not protected and go back to get it.

    Is this just giving me a false sense of security? (imo No, yours?)
  2. It does sound feasible, but you'd want to have it packed pretty tight to help with shock absorption.

    I also read that thread as well and will be looking into back protectors when I go to the shop at lunch.
  3. Yes.

    In an off, a backpack may catch along the ground and interfere with your spine, shoulders and lower back. It's not a replacement for a back protector, and if you carry anything larger or heavier than a jumper then it may just do the opposite of what you think may be "protection."

    Having said that, I'm not aware of any studies regarding the effect of backpacks in a crash, so I'll humbly apologise if someone can provide evidence to the contrary.
  4. no idea, but for the 100.00 why not just try one....imo good investment to hopefully keep you walking, and if it doesn't work well at least you tried.
  5. Some light reading:
    http://www.webbikeworld.com/r3/back-protector/knox-stowaway/knox-stowaway.htm (I have one of these; came with my armour undershirt. It's only CE-1 rated)


    http://www.webbikeworld.com/r3/back-protector/bmw-back-protector/ (CE-2 rated)


    And so on.

    There're CE-1 rated back protectors which offer the lower amount of CE-approved impact absorbtion, while CE-2 approved ones meet a higher standard and transmit even less force to the wearer in an impact. They're usually the ones with a hard "armadillo shell" of plastic hinged joints.
  6. Zealt - with respect, your first post is the same as saying "If I travel with a pillow in front of me in the car, wouldn't it do the same job as an Air Bag?"

    No, a backpack with a jumper and wets etc would not, in any situation, protect you the same as a back protector would.

    I wear a back protector each and every time I get on the bike, and that's at least 5 times a week. A back protector does not interfere with wearing a backpack or riding the bike.

    Do you have insurance on your bike? Please please please insure your spine by way of as good a quality back protector as you can afford. Save up more if you have to.
  7. I have a UFO Plast Back Protector, this one is very very similar but probably the current model:

  8. A few years ago, an accquaintance crashed whilst wearing a backpack, landed on his back and split his breastbone. He survived, but it wasn't good.

    Since then, I've not willingly worn a backpack on a bike (although I have done it on occasion out of necessity).
  9. Good topic! Doonx, is your rated? Rang my local store, they only seem to have the RJ's armadillo type and then various slip in types (Knox, Spidi)

    Anyone else use back protectors here, if so, which one?
  10. I'm with Pat. There must be a few variables involved but all things being equal I reckon a backpack is likely to make a spill worse by hyperextending your spine.
  11. CE2 - cost around $180 if I recall correctly, bought it about 12months ago.
  12. Definately #1 on the need to get list now. Interested in the armidillo type (such as Doonx's) Do they run the length of your back, anything to look out for when fitting one on?

    I try and limit the use of a backpack. I'm concerned in an off, it could snag on something and cause more injury. I use an Oxford #1 tankbag almost every day - surpising what you can get in there!
  13. I also ware a UFO back protector, I try to avoid a back pack, but often am forced to ware one. But a back protector is standard kit.
  14. Shredder?

  15. while impact figures are given, if you run some numbers, their capacity is rather small compared to the energy of your moving body.

    A back protector has a number of functions that a backpack either doesn't do, or actively works against you:

    1. If you hit a pole, gutter etc, the device tries to spread the load across more of your back than just the bit that hit the pole.
    2. Preventing hyperextension - ie the interlocking plates that let you roll forward, don't let you bend back as far - it tries to stop you running backwards into a pole and folding around it. A backpack does the reverse of this. If you land flat on your back (or slide on your side into something solid) you will naturally fold around the backpack and snap your spine. A back protector wants to stop this and mostly for this reason alone back protector != backpack of any description.
    3. Try to prevent penetration injuries (sticks going through you).

    neither of these involve getting rid of energy. A seatbelt undergoes significant stretching when it gets used. ie lots of energy is absorbed by the belt and it undergoes significant strain as a result. (strain = comparison of final length compared to the original length). For a 10mm thick back protector, you won't get any significant effect.
  16. if you are interested in what actually happens


    gives a quick overview.


    describes what happens to a seatbelt under impact loading.

    They suggest a maximum of about 8% plastic or permanent strain of the webbing under load (without failure of course). The energy that goes into permanently stretching the belt is what saves you.

    Looking at a spinal protector you can have a potentially high plastic strain (perhaps 50% depending on honeycomb designs) but only total movement of about 5mm (assuming the 10mm crushes to 5mm before stopping to give you the 50% plastic strain). You'll need manufacturer figures for this, but the greater the area of impact, the more the back protector will do. (ie more for a broadslide into a wall than for hitting a pole or gutter). It is still small however compared to the total energy you need to dissipate, which is why its primary role isn't to absorb energy, but to spread the impact over as much of your body as possible to reduce the energy per unit area your body has to deal with.

    People who crash in cars with seatbelts get the same injuries from the belt as having someone hit you (hard!) with a cricket bat. Riders who hit things look the same. Anything lumpy that gets between you and what you hit magnifies the damage to a local area - just the thing a spine protector (and indeed any padding or armour in riding gear) tries to act against.

    for practical demonstration, think of the difference between jumping on a tennis ball in bare feet, compared to having shoes on. THe sole of the shoe spreads the load over more of your foot, thus making it hurt less.
  17. Must have been a few of us who have suddenly become interested in back protectors after that recent "off" thread :)
    I've got a textile jacket with a compartment to slip in a back protector; is this any good or should I get a proper back protector to wear underneath?
  18. what you spend, and your level of comfort are a personal choice, however two things to think about:

    1. In relation to what I said above, can you put your jacket on and back into a railing and compare how much the bits of foam let your back bend against a 'proper' protector?
    2. How well your jacket keeps the protector in place, so it would actually do its job if you needed it.

    I have a 1 piece racing suit that is so tight the back protector doesn't move. I have 2 piece road suits where the jacket is a bit looser, so I wear a back protector/kidney belt combo to keep it in place while the jacket can move around a little.

    Your choice.
  19. The 'seperate' ones typically offer greater coverage in terms of both length (from the base of your neck to the tip of your tailbone) and width (wrapping around the kidneys) than the little jacket inserts, IMHO.

    An insert's better than nothin' tho.